I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Taeko Ohnuki -- Bleeker Street no Seishun (ブリーカーストリートの青春)

Dipping back into singer-songwriter Taeko Ohnuki's(大貫妙子)5th album "Aventure" (1981) for the track "Bleeker Street no Seishun" (My Youth on Bleeker Street). Considering her lyrics, I took this Bleeker Street to be the one in West Village, New York City. However, I couldn't help but feel a bit surprised when I first acquired "Aventure" and saw the title since there is a street with the same name here in Toronto (although it is actually spelled Bleecker). In fact, it was the north-south street next to my family's old apartment in St. James Town. Although I have been to The Big Apple twice, I don't recall ever getting onto Bleeker Street but I imagine that since it is located in the West Village, it is probably a whole lot more stylish than the very inner-city drab Bleecker Street of my memories.

Getting back to the actual song, however, "Bleeker Street no Seishun" may not be one of Ohnuki's more prominent creations but it is still quite appealing to me. By the time she released "Aventure", the singer had created her unique niche as a singer mixing European and technopop sounds; sometimes they were separate and sometimes they were meshed together. "Bleeker Street" is much more of the former. In keeping with the setting of the title, the music has this somewhat artsy French-movie-like nature, cropping up images of college students in black turtleneck sweaters (which are actually mentioned in the lyrics) commuting between their classrooms and the cafes. Perhaps among all those post-academics, there is young Ms. Ohnuki sitting in one of those coffeehouses just staring out the window as she mentally philosophizes about life. I think my university life was far more work-a-day. My buddies and I usually hit the local Pizza Hut or eatery in Chinatown after classes.


  1. Hi, do you have any chart information about Ohnuki? Is she popular in Japan?

    1. Hello there.

      You asked a question that made me think for a bit. Good! To be honest, I can't give you an absolute answer but looking at some of the Entamedata annual charts that I think she could've ranked in, I couldn't find any of her albums or singles. But my feeling about her is that I don't think she has really cared about getting into the Top 10.

      Ohnuki was never really popular as a chart-topping singer but even before I became a die-hard fan of hers, her name would pop in and out of the media like an epic ghostly presence. It came to the point where I thought "Who IS this Taeko Ohnuki?"

      I think there is a relatively small but quite dedicated fan base for her because of her often-whimsical and wistful songs. I wouldn't call her material avant-garde but it has been very interesting and listenable in a non-Oricon way to me although in a few rare cases, some of her songs have been quite poppy.

      I often refer to the following website for chart information from the past:

  2. I use entamedata, but I asked your help because I couldn't find her there. Thank you for your help anyway. Another singer who isn't much popular but has a dedicate fan base is Akiko Yano, but in her case I was able to find chart rankings (she had just one top 10 album on the weekly chart somewhere in the 90s if I'm not wrong, that's why I was curious about Ohnuki... I thought she could have reached similar rankings on the middle part of the chart, but I couldn't find anything). Thank you anyway for your time and attention.


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